Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Queen’s Baton to start India leg relay on Friday morning

After a crossing 70 countries, 1,70,000 km and 240 days, the Queen’s baton relay for the XIX Commonwealth Games will reach India on Friday. The baton will enter India from Pakistan through the Wagah-Attari border on June 25 at 9.25 am. After a grand ceremony, the baton’s national relay will be kicked off. The theme of the event is Friendship through sports.
The baton will visit all 28 States and seven UTs of India over the next 100 days. More than 5,000 baton bearers will relay it across 200 cities and thousands of villages using all modes of transport over land, air and sea.

“This is the longest Queen’s baton relay ever in the history of Commonwealth Games,” said OC Chairman Suresh Kalmadi.

At the Indo-Pak border, Pakistan Olympics Association president Syed Arif Hassan will hand over the baton to Kalmadi.

Kalmadi appreciated Pakistan’s role in India’s successful bid for the Games. “Pakistan championed our cause as we and Canada were locked in a two-way battle for the hosting rights,” he said.

After a relay throughout the country, the baton will arrive in Delhi on September 30.
After a three-day relay in the capital, the baton will be docked at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium during the opening ceremony.

Kalmadi said a young sports icon will be the brand ambassador for the October 3 to 14 sporting event and not a Bollywood celebrity.

"Young sports icon" as brand ambassador for CWG: Kalmadi

Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi made it clear that a "a young sports icon" and not a Bollywood personality would be the brand ambassador for the October 3 to 14 mega sporting event.

"Brand Ambassador for the Commonwealth Games will be a young sports personality. I will tell you the name when we meet again," Kalmadi told reporters here while announcing the India schedule of Queen's Baton Relay.

Kalmadi's comment assumes significance as the names of Bollywood superstars Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan were doing the rounds.

Kalmadi had earlier said that the OC was considering legendary athletes Milkha Singh and PT Usha to be chosen as brand ambassador but later clarified that he "personally" favoured a young sportsperson.

CM exhorts PWD to complete street-scaping before monsoons

In the run up to the Commonwealth Games 2010, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit inspected ongoing street-scaping work going on in Delhi and exhorted the department concerned to complete the work before monsoons. Underlining the importance of quality and aesthetic values, she said this will go a long way in presenting a better image of the capital city. In her two-hour-long inspection journey, Ms Dikshit initially visited all roads leading to the Commonwealth Games Village. Then she moved towards Trilok Puri, Kalyan Puri and Millennium Park area.
Instructing the Public Welfare Department (PWD), she said rains might hamper planned street-scaping works, so it should be completed as early as possible. She said the look should be uniform so that a pleasing look could be presented. Ms Dikshit also gave some specific instructions about street furniture so that the same may not get rusted later on and stressed upon the need of completion of entire greenery exercise at the earliest.
The street-scaping work on all important roads leading to stadia and Commonwealth Games Village was taken up with an estimated cost of Rs 250 crore. The Chief Minister was accompanied by PWD Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan, Principal Secretary to CM P K Tripathi, Principal Secretary (PWD) K K Sharma, E-in-C (PWD) Rakesh Mishra and other senior officers.

Sehwag tutors Delhiites on traffic rules for Games

The next time you tune into an FM channel, don’t be surprised to hear Virender Sehwag asking you to drive safely. The ace batsman has been roped in by the Delhi Traffic Police to help make Delhiites aware about traffic rules ahead of the Commonwealth Games.
“Please follow traffic rules, stick to your lane”, Sehwag’s voice plays in between popular songs on FM channels.
The Delhi Traffic Police has roped in Sehwag to endorse its traffic awareness campaign.
“Sehwag has joined the project in educating people on traffic sense. We expect it to have an impact and people will become responsible in the coming months. We hope to get more celebrities,” Ajay Chadha, special commissioner of police (Traffic), told IANS.
Sehwag in his messages also urges people to stick to lanes, obey traffic rules - to make Delhi a safe traffic place.
Apart from the awareness campaign, the traffic police is spreading its safe traffic message through social networking sites Facebook and Twitter. Delhi Traffic Police has a profile on the two sites, which is visited by many people.
“We have more than 6,600 followers on Facebook now. By the time the games (CWG) commence, we are expecting around 20,000 followers. We think that by opening a dialogue with people, things can work more effectively and swiftly,” he said.
With the success of its outreach programme, the traffic police is to take up other initiatives too like educating drivers about lane management.
“In the coming weeks, we will launch drives to educate drivers on lane management for the Games lane,” he said, referring to a dedicated lane that will be in use during the Games to transport athletes and officials.
“Similar drives to enforce lane driving, especially for giving way to emergency vehicles, will also be launched,” Chadha said.
Asked how it feels to manage the traffic situation in Delhi, Chadha said: “It is a challenging task to manage the traffic situation. My efforts are on and I hope to see some definite changes in the times to come.”

Mega art competition to coincide with Commonwealth Games

Children from more than 2,000 schools will take part in a painting competition to pay tribute to the country's artistic talent as part of the arts and culture bouquet of the Commonwealth Games 2010.

The competition with theme "My Dream Sport" will be a platform for emerging Indian artists to lend colour to their creative imagination hinged on the country's rich legacy of sports. The competition is being billed as one of the largest in Asia.

Organisers of the Shoobh Arts Competition in association with the Lalit Kala Academy this week announced the call for entries from students aged between 5 and 17 years.

The entries must be submitted by Aug 15, 2010. Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has autographed a cartoon by Uday Shankar as a mascot for the competition.

The students will be divided into three categories according to their age groups for the competition. Students with special needs will also participate. The list of winners will be announced Sep 5, 2010.

The best entries will be exhibited at prominent Indian art galleries and will also be featured in Indian Art magazine.

Commenting on the platform, artist Anjolie Ela Menon, who will lead the jury, said: "Platforms like the Shoobh Arts Competition may help bring out India's emerging talent who may not have been discovered otherwise."

A 16-member jury will judge 600 entries.

Artist K.R. Subanna said: "The competition will be the biggest talent hunt in the country for the young minds to showcase their talent."

The goal of the competition is to support and nurture Indian visual artists early in their career by providing them a forum to display their artistic talent to the country and hopefully open doors to future opportunity.

The three selected finalists in each category will be awarded a medal and a certificate from the sponsors.

The winning paintings will also be displayed at the Commonwealth Games venues as well as key locations across New Delhi and NCR.

Bharat Gauba of Shoobh Arts said one of the objective of the competition was to spread awareness about art. "The children who participate will become advocates for other kids to share the platform."

The competition's school advisory committee member and educationist Shyama Chona said: "By asking students with special needs to draw their dream sport, the competition plans to create awareness about the importance of the Games and allow them to express their aspirations related to their dream sport."

Games knock door, but litter-free Delhi a distant dream

Much has been made of the beautification drive of the capital ahead of the Commonwealth Games, but dirty main streets specked with uncleared rubbish, construction rubble and civic litter remain an eyesore, throwing a question mark on the city's preparation for the big event a little more than three months from now.
And one reason cited by both residents and officials is the rampant delinquency of the army of safai karamcharis, or street cleaners, who remain a law to themselves.
The government has released crores of rupees for the "beautification" of the national capital for the mega sporting event in October that tens of thousands from across the world are expected to attend.
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has repeatedly proclaimed that this ancient capital has been metamorphosed into a "world-class city", but both citizens and tourists complain about dirty streets and uncleared garbage heaps.
Stinking garbage piles near shopping or community areas or and the utter lack of conveniently placed waste bins for disposal of litter remain constant irritants, residents complain.
A recent McKinsey report warns that Indian cities could turn into "dry, stinking holes" by 2030. The report says that Delhiites will be soon forced to consume treated sewage water as they do in Singapore.
Besides this, Delhi ranked 24th in a Forbes magazine survey carried out in 2008 on the world's 25 dirtiest cities.
Residents complain that street cleaners either don't turn up for duty or barely clean streets once every day.
"The dumps have been installed to prevent garbage from spilling on to the roads. Improper maintenance of these dumps by the sanitary workers results in garbage getting scattered. They sweep the litter, collect it at places and don't bother to cart it away," said Pravish Kumar, a resident of Defence Colony.
Recently a special squad of ex-servicemen working for the civic body carried out an inspection on street cleaners and found glaring irregularities. The inspection squad found that many workers marked themselves present and then went missing from work.
MCD spokesperson Deep Mathur said the civic body does its best to keep the city clean and the public should also participate to maintain hygiene. "Instead of blaming the civic authorities, citizens should ensure cleanliness. The MCD tries its best to keep the city clean.
"But what can we do if the public throws the garbage in an unruly manner?", he asked.
The safai karamcharis in turn complain that the civic body does not provide them with adequate cleaning equipment and safety kits.
"It's easy to say that the bins are not cleared and stinking. But we only know the effort we put in to clean the dirt and debris of the city," says Meena Kumari, a safai karamchari working at Jangpura Extension.
"We clean the dumps every morning. It is tough for us to keep them clean throughout the day. Most of the time we clean the dumps with our bare hands," she said.

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